Drug nixed for mild cognitive impairment: study
TORONTO - Researchers say drugs known as cognitive enhancers do not improve mental function in people with mild cognitive impairment.
Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is marked by memory lapses that may interfere with everyday tasks, but is not the same as normal aging.
However, up to 17 per cent of MCI patients go on to develop a dementia such as Alzheimer's.
Cognitive enhancers are used in Alzheimer's patients, but are sometimes given to people with MCI to enhance concentration, memory, alertness and mood. In Canada, doctors need special authorization to prescribe the drugs for MCI.
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto reviewed eight randomized trials that compared four cognitive enhancers against placebo pills.
Their report in Monday's Canadian Medical Association Journal says the drugs don't benefit MCI patients in the long term and can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and headaches.
"Our results do not support the use of cognitive enhancers for patients with mild cognitive impairment," say the authors, who looked at trials involving four cognitive enhancers â€” donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine.
"Patients and their families should consider this information when requesting these medications. Similarly, health-care decision makers may not wish to approve the use of these medications for mild cognitive impairment, because these drugs might not be effective and are likely associated with harm."